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Getting ready for the New National Standards for Pre-School Services

June 6, 2014

1.    What are the National Standards for Pre-School Services?

The current National Standards for Pre-school Services 2010 are a list of 20 standards on good practice which directly relate to the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006.

There are new standards due to be launched this year and are set to replace the current Explanatory Guide to Requirements for the Pre-School Regulations. The standards set out to ensure quality practice across all areas of a child care service in a clear easy to understand way.

Each standard is made up of an outcome and a list of criteria. Originally the standards were designed by the Standards Working Group chaired by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in 2010.


2.    What is the Purpose of the National Standards?

The National Standards are an explanatory and guidance tool to the Pre-School Regulations. The intention is to assist services to interpret the regulations and to offer guidance on good practice. They will replace the current Explanatory Guide to Requirements for Pre-School Regulations.


3.    Why are they important?

The standards give guidance for every day good practice and should become an important tool in every child care service, which is shared with staff and parents. They set out a list of criteria on good practice in relation to the areas covered in the regulations. \The criteria also outlines information that needs to be available on the day of the pre-school inspection by the Pre-School Officer.


4.    Who is affected by the National Standards?

•    Full day care
•    Part-time day care
•    Sessional Services
•    Child-minding Services
•    Pre-School service in a drop-in centre and in a temporary drop-in centre
•    Overnight Pre-school Service


5.    How will this affect my service?

As the standards will replace the current explanatory guide to the regulations, every service will need to become familiar with their content. They should become a vital part of every day good practice. Furthermore during inspection the pre-school officer will carry out observations on practice and may ask for documents outlined in the standards. Remember these standards are directly linked to the Pre-School regulations and inform the interpretation of them.


6.    What do I need to do in relation to the standards?

The standards outline a list of criteria on good practice which all services need to meet. In addition, there are policies and procedures associated with the standards and Early Childhood Ireland has put together a guide of policies and supporting documents which will assist you to get ready for your inspection.


If you have any queries please contact Lisa on our member phoneline  on 01 404 0681 or email :

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